SEAFRONT traders have lambasted Southend Council after being handed fines for parking outside their business, while facing lockdown hardship.

Business owners on Southend seafront say Southend Council should be supporting firms in the coronavirus outbreak rather then penalising them.

Paul Thompson, 46, owner of Pebbles One in Marine Parade, was fined last Sunday.

He said: “The car parks and loading bays are shut so the only place to park was right outside the door, which if common sense was used shouldn’t be an issue right now.

“The parking warden came and told me I couldn’t park there and I was going to be fined.

“I called the council’s director of public places and he agreed it should be cancelled.

“It has been stopped but it’s just ridiculous.”

A worker at the Borough Hotel on the seafront was also fined for parking on the business forecourt on April 4.

Joan Tiney, 69, business owner and chairman of the Southend Seafront Traders’ Association also blasted the council.

She said: “My daughter Nicole who lives and works there was fined, I thought it was a joke when she called.

“There’s no sign of light at the end of the tunnel for traders and now this grief.”

Cllr Ron Woodley, deputy leader of the council, says:  “As part of a concerted campaign to deter visitors from the seafront, our parking enforcement officers have been supporting police and community safety colleagues to enforce the restrictions in place at weekends along the seafront.

“This process is not in place to penalise traders who need to visit their premises in these difficult times, and as part of this we are advising them that rather than driving onto and parking on the pavement or promenade, to use a suspended bay close to their property and provide us with their registration number to avoid enforcement.

“We have asked the business owners in question to forward their PCN numbers and state why they were parked where they were. The appeals team will then be looking at these urgently and also review all the relevant camera footage, in line with the legislation and the guidance we have put in place.”